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Requiem in Vienna: A Viennese Mystery Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: A Viennese Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383909
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1899, Jones's fine second Viennese mystery (after 2009's The Empty Mirror) opens with a falling fire curtain narrowly missing Gustav Mahler, the director of the Vienna Court Opera, but killing a soprano during a stage rehearsal. Lawyer and private inquirer Karl Werthen teams with criminologist Hanns Gross to look into this and subsequent accidents apparently aimed at Mahler. As the investigation descends into the damned politics of music, Mahler, a former Jew who must be careful to hide his contempt for fellow composer Richard Wagner, emerges as the nexus for an ever-widening pool of suspects. Complicating matters are big changes in Werthen's home life, in particular wife Berthe's pregnancy. Jones, the author of Hitler in Vienna, 1907–1913 and other nonfiction books about the city, smoothly blends a compelling period whodunit with bountiful cultural and social details. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A young woman hires a lawyer to find out who’s trying to kill the man she loves. At first the lawyer is skeptical, but soon he realizes that certain suspicious incidents have only one explanation: murder. But who’s the would-be culprit, and can he be stopped before he finally succeeds? Sounds like a pretty ordinary thriller, except that it’s set in 1899 Vienna, and the villain’s target is Gustav Mahler, the noted Austrian composer and conductor. Lawyer and investigator Karl Werthen, the hero of 2009’s The Empty Mirror, teams up with criminologist Hans Gross to find out whether there might be an evil plot afoot: with the recent deaths of Strauss and Brahms, it looks like someone might be systematically killing off Vienna’s musical geniuses. This is a rich, beautifully written historical mystery, with a unique setting and a compelling lead. The author’s use of real people—Mahler, Gross, and painter Gustav Klimt among them—gives the book the feel of actual history, and his careful re-creation of the Viennese setting transports us to the place and time. A first-class historical mystery that builds on the promise of its predecessor. --David Pitt

More About the Author

J. Sydney Jones is the author of twelve books, including the first four critically acclaimed installments of the Viennese Mystery series, THE EMPTY MIRROR (2009) REQUIEM IN VIENNA (2010), THE SILENCE (2011), and THE KEEPER OF HANDS (2013). Also the author of the WWII mystery, RUIN VALUE (2013). A long-time resident of Vienna, he currently lives near Santa Cruz, California.

Visit the author at his homepage, http://www.jsydneyjones.com and at his blog, Scene of the Crime, http://jsydneyjones.wordpress.com

Here's what the critics are saying about THE SILENCE:
"Jones vividly evokes 1900 Vienna ... in his splendid third whodunit featuring attorney Karl Werthen and criminologist Hanns Gross."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review

Here's what the critics are saying about REQUIEM IN VIENNA:
"A rich, beautifully written historical mystery...first class."
--Booklist (starred review)
"Sophisticated entertainment of a very high caliber."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Very good book about turn of the century Vienna.
Mary L. Bisutti
Fans who prefer a strong historical presence in their mysteries will enjoy this delightful whodunit.
Harriet Klausner
True mystery fans will fall in love with this book...as I did!
Cheryl Koch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 1899 at the Vienna Court Opera, a blazing curtain falls from above barely missing the famous director Gustav Mahler, but hits and kills a performer standing near the renowned composer-conductor. This is not the first incident apparently aimed at Gustav though this is the first deadly assault.

Private inquirer Karl Werthen is hired to keep Mahler safe and uncover who the stalker is before this person succeeds in his or her deadly intent. With his pregnant wife Berthe insisting on helping Karl, he also asks criminologist Hanns Gross to join the investigation into the deadly incident, previous threats and new accidental attacks that seem to target Mahler. Their inquiry leads to music rivalries starting with the composer Richard Wagner and with anti-Semitism though Mahler is a former Jew.

Requiem in Vienna is a superb historical mystery that uses the terrific private investigation as a springboard to present life in Vienna at the turn of the last century. The story line is fast-paced as Karl worries about his beloved Berthe who insists on being part of the inquiry team while working through the mud of the music world, which proves no waltz. Fans who prefer a strong historical presence in their mysteries will enjoy this delightful whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Famous music composer and conductor, Gustav Mahler is preparing for a new musical production. Unfortunately, someone does not want the show to go on. Maestro Mahler's leading lady and lover becomes the victim of a horrible accident on set during rehearsals. It seems that Mahler was the target. One of Mahler's other lover's Alma Schindler fears for Mahler's life. She turns to private investigator, Karl Werthen for help. Mr. Werthen brings his old friend and criminologist, Hanns Gross in on the case. Together Werthen and Gross hope to solve the mystery before it is too late.

Requiem in Vienna is the second book in the Viennese mystery series. It can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel. As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but feel hints of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The author of the famed Sherlock Holmes mysteries. This is a good thing, because I really loved Sherlock Holmes stories. This was one of my reasons for liking this genre. It is refreshing to find another author who could rise to the level of Sir Doyle. Mr. Jones brought to life the city of Vienna as well as his characters and storyline. This book draws you in bit by bit. I like that Mr. Jones incorporates fiction with one or two real people. True mystery fans will fall in love with this book...as I did!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tom Ovens on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Requiem in Vienna, the second in Mr. Jones' Viennese Mystery series, shows once again the same thorough, historical grounding of fin de siecle Vienna. He shows a surer grasp of his characters, which is natural since he, too, is getting to know them better. Gross' ego and self confidence contrasts nicely with Werthen's lack of experience in the investigation game. Werthen and his wife Berthe are evolving as well, showing a more complex dynamic in their relationship. The cast of notables appear in a very logical way. The famous are not just forced into a scene. To us, especially Americans, the historical figures of the Vienna of the day are pretty much unknown. So it is good to learn of Alma Mahler, whose own history is better than fiction, and of Karl Kraus, who just about single handedly wrote his literary newletter, Die Fackel/The Torch for thirty years and comes across as a delightful combination of Mark Twain and San Francisco's Herb Caen. Kraus, especially, should be able to pop up in succeeding stories since he seems to have his finger on the pulse of society. Sorting out which character is historical and learning a bit more of them is most enjoyable and gives an added bonus to the story. The mystery itself (which does its job of keeping us guessing until the end) gives the author opportunity to throw in some wonderful historical tid-bits such as Brahms' musical coding, the inner workings of the Opera of the time, the last days of Johanne Strauss. A lot of serious research was done for this. For "Vienna-philes" it's another journey back to a lost world. Hopefully, there will be more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Mulrooney on December 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good mystery story. A great way to gain insight into the way of life of old Vienna at it's most creative time. The food does seem to be very rich, how did they control their weight? Was it by a lot of walking through this beautiful City? From the descriptions; it was like being there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wadu Eyno on February 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One artist "borrows" from another. Where is the line between "being inspired by" and plagiarizing?

This engaging question pervades the atmosphere of this well-plotted, entertaining book. The great composer Gustav Mahler appears to be in danger --- and his alleged penchant for "borrowing" from others may lie behind attempts on his life.

Interestingly, the engaging question pervades the atmosphere of this book also in another sense. The myriad similarities between "Requiem" and the wonderful Lieberman-Reinhardt series of Frank Tallis were the 800-pound gorilla in the room as I turned every page of "Requiem." Consider the following examples (with detailed differences in parentheses).

TIME AND PLACE: fin de siecle Vienna.

PROTAGONISTS: a youngish, Jewish amateur sleuth working with an older, Catholic professional crime fighter. (Tallis's amateur is a psychoanalyst, Jones's a lawyer; Tallis's pro is a policemen, Jones's a criminologist.)

SUPPORTING CAST: a strong, smart woman who is the romantic interest of the junior sleuth. (Tallis's femme is a former patient who is an aspiring hematologist; Jones's is the amateur's wife.)

"SPICE IN THE STEW": a preoccupation with food, especially on the part of the older pro in both series. (Tallis specializes in pastry, Jones in main courses.)

The Tallis books are better literature than "Requiem," but both Tallis's and Jones's books all share several laudable qualities. They are all historically accurate and offer the reader a welcome view of the history, geography, and culture in fin de siecle Vienna. All of the books are well-plotted, with a slight edge to Jones in terms of the underlying mystery.

So, I recommend "Requiem" on its own merits --- and I certainly recommend any one of the Tallis books! As far as the engaging question that I started with --- well that's another kind of "spice" in the "stew."
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